that though the story centers on male figures, the novel is ultimately about female authorship, as demonstrated by the “story of a man who usurps the female role by physically giving birth to a child” (248). Susan Wolfson notes that “Elizabeth has no function that is not directed toward her male companions” (55), and Paula Feldman wonders if the tale isn't a metaphor for Mary Shelley's own conflicted views about motherhood (75). Doubtless, Frankenstein will provide rich discussions for feminists for some time to come.
See also Wollstonecraft, Mary.
SILENCE AND VOICE
In its most general sense, voice can be defined as the reward for successfully battling oppressive systems that enforce silence, or it may represent the very means by which the battle was fought. White women, for example, often argue that to attain voice, they must free themselves from the constraints of patriarchy, and many have done so through the written word. As feminism has become more self-conscious in its ethnocentrism, however, women of color have complicated this definition by pointing out that no single woman's voice exists—and that minority women have often been silenced by the very movements credited with giving them voice. As a result, the binaries of silence and voice become ever more problematic, and women find that these terms apply both inside and outside of feminism. In other words, as Lugones and Spelman explain, “the concept of the woman's voice is itself a theoretical concept, in the sense that it presupposes a theory according to which our identities as human beings are actually compound identities, a kind of fusion or confusion of our otherwise separate identities as women or men, as Black or brown or white, etc.”
Thumbnail sketches of women's progress point readers to the most overt ways in which women have won at least partial battles against the forces that would silence them: the right to vote, the right to own property, the right to earn equal wages; and, more generally, women's expanded control over marriage, education, and reproduction. These issues dismiss imbalances of power within the category
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Publication information: Book title: Encyclopedia of Feminist Literature. Contributors: Kathy J. Whitson - Author. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 2004. Page number: 232.
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